Sen. Miner, Rep. Harding Statement on Senate Passage of S.B. 117: An Act Concerning Tree Removal on Properties Under the Control of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

April 21, 2022

Environment Committee Ranking Members State Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield) and State Rep. Stephen Harding (R-Brookfield) issued statements in support of yesterday’s Senate passage of S.B. 117, which improves transparency and establishes standards for the removal of trees and shrubs that constitute an immediate public hazard at state parks and campgrounds. The genesis of this measure was DEEP’s flawed hazard tree removal process at Housatonic Meadows State Park in Sharon that began on or about November 12, 2021. This process resulted in the agency’s removal of 120 trees absent public notice, stakeholder outreach or public hearing.


Between the fall of 2021 and winter of 2022, the lawmakers twice wrote to DEEP to request information and ultimately a public informational meeting with agency staff. In that meeting, DEEP staff indicated the intention to proceed with the hazard tree removals prior to other testimony in the hearing process. As a result, Senator Miner and Representative Harding pledged to introduce legislation to restore public input for future widespread tree removal projects.


“When you take 120 trees out of a small parcel of property, it is significant. You must have a plan and you must let the public know what that plan is, while remaining open to stakeholder and expert input. In this case, this measure is a first step to showing the people of Litchfield County that their voices were heard. It is also the best balance between transparency with DEEP’s activities and safety at our state parks,” said Senator Miner.


“This is a positive first step in addressing the wrongs that occurred at Housatonic Meadows State Park this past fall. It was an honor to work with Senator Miner and my other Environment Committee colleagues in crafting this bill towards passage in the Senate. I look forward to advocating and championing its passage in the house,” said Representative Harding.